The COVD-19 crisis fundamentally changed the ways companies interact with their customers. Over a very short period of time, the traditional channels organizations used to communicate and transact with customers before the pandemic evaporated or changed dramatically.
Any channels that relied on direct face-to-face interactions became at least temporarily unavailable. From in-store shopping to in-home services or in-person appointments, social distancing has put a never-before-seen strain on large parts of organizations’ omnichannel strategies.
Aside from direct person-to-person interaction with customers, the global pandemic also applied tension to other channels in surprising ways. Social distancing and the resulting shift to remote work has affected customer interactions that weren’t conducted face to face. Many customer service call centers, for example, that were previously operating on either outsourced models or simply ill-equipped for remote work, weren’t able to handle the transition. This resulted in long on-hold times or the complete inability to reach a live person at all, forcing them to immediately scale up online support functions.
In short, even the most advanced players are finding it hard to adjust and meet new demands, whether in the form of increased online traffic, new fulfillment and delivery expectations, or always-on availability for customers from remote locations.